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Sailing cruise to view bears, whales & wolves

| CA-OS901

Photograph grizzly, black & the iconic Spirit Bears in their natural habitats


Explore the north coast of British Columbia in a 70' schooner and observe and photograph grizzly bears, black bears, and the iconic Spirit Bear with local First Nations guides on this cruise into the Great Bear Rainforest.


  • Great Bear Rainforest
  • Grizzly, Black & Spirit Bears
  • Whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions
  • Vancouver Island
  • Great Bear Sea
  • Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Big House

The Great Bear Rainforest extends from northern Vancouver Island to the BC-Alaska border and represents one of the largest remaining intact coastal temperate forests in the world. This 9-day expedition is dedicated to observing, photographing, and learning about the abundant top predators of the Great Bear Rainforest, including grizzly bears, black bears, the iconic “Spirit” bear, and coastal wolves. You will visit bear viewing stands operated by local First Nations where you will have excellent opportunities to observe both Spirit bears and black bears fishing for salmon.

You will explore coastal estuaries and salmon spawning streams and rivers, on foot, in sea kayaks or inflatable skiff, and learn about how healthy populations of bears and wolves are critical for maintaining the “salmon forests” of the Great Bear Rainforest. Guests will also get a crash course in marine biology as you encounter the many whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, sea lions and sea otters that thrive in these coastal seas.

  • Personal Experience
  • Trusted Tour Operator
  • Local Guides
  • Small group
Availability June - Oct
Duration 8 / 9 / 10 days
Departs From Bella Bella, BC
Difficulty Easy / Moderate Suitable for most people in fair condition.
Minimum age No limit
Group maximum 6
Meet on Location Yes
Pick Up No


4 707
  • Best Price Guarantee
  • International number: +1 778 348 1676

Availability (2024):

  • June 7-14 (7 nights)
  • Price: $6450 CAD per person

  • September 13-21 (8 nights)
  • October 1-9 (8 nights)
  • Price: $8450 CAD per person

  • September 2-11 (9 nights)
  • Price: $9450 CAD per person

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What's Included

Find out what is included and what to bring.


  • Use of all onboard gear and resources
  • Rubber boots
  • User fees
  • All meals aboard the ship are included
  • Accommodation

Suggested Clothing

  • Clothing to suit a variety of coastal weather
  • Warm jacket
  • Rain gear
  • Hat
  • Gloves
  • Hiking boots
  • Fleece or wool sweaters
  • A full packing list will be provided upon booking

Suggested Items

  • Camera
  • Daypack
  • Binoculars
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • Water bottle
  • A full packing list will be provided upon booking

Contact us for more Information about this tour


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Find out more details about the tour and its highlights


cub and a large bear in canada

You visit the Great Bear Rainforest in the Fall (mid-August through September) because this is when the salmon start entering the estuaries and rivers. 

Highlights of this tour include exploring ancient rainforests as Pacific salmon return to the estuaries and rivers, offering a feast to bears, wolves, seals, sea lions, eagles, and ravens, stepping inside the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Big House in Klemtu and becoming immersed in ancient culture and sailing through the Great Bear Sea alongside whales, dolphins, porpoises and other marine mammals.

Guide information: Your crew is a team of enthusiastic, fun and exceptional individuals who work both onboard and behind the scenes to provide the best possible experiences and care for the guests. As professional guides, mariners, marine ecologists and fisheries biologists, marine mammal experts, archaeologists and anthropologists, photographers, and avid naturalists, your crew will give you behind-the-scenes insights into the natural wonders and cultural intrigue of the BC Coast and take great care of you along the way.


Transportation: Tours begin and end in the coastal town of Bella Bella, BC. Bella Bella is accessible by air from Vancouver.

Weather: Weather along the coast of BC in August and September is usually warm and dry but be prepared for possible rainy, windy and foggy days.

two beavers in water in canada

Our Fall expeditions through the Great Bear Rainforest begin in the Heiltsuk First Nation community of Bella Bella. As soon as we depart, we’ll be on the lookout for our first wildlife sightings, such as humpback whales, sea otters, killer whales, and even elephant seals. This afternoon we’ll anchor in a protected bays and go ashore for our first taste of coastal temperate rainforest ecosystems and spawning salmon in action.

Continuing our journey north, east of Princess Royal Island, we’ll visit and explore Fiordland Conservation Area and a Special Management grizzly bear-viewing site. As salmon begin to make their way upstream to spawn, we’ll be on the lookout not only for bears, but all the species that are drawn here to take advantage of this annual ecological phenomenon. We’ll visit deep glacier-carved fiords and large mainland estuaries where we hope to encounter and observe bears – grizzly, black bears, and the iconic white Spirit bear.

bear walking near shallow water in canada

Over the next few days, we’ll continue our journey deeper into the Great Bear. We’ll enjoy vast landscapes, towering granite snow-covered mountain peaks, and cascading waterfalls. We also expect to encounter more marine wildlife, particularly the humpback whales that are returning to this region in great numbers. Using our inflatable skiff, we’ll explore spectacular coastal estuaries that provide prime habitat for bears, wolves, and a wide range of birds and waterfowl including ravens, eagles, kingfishers, herons, mergansers, and buffleheads.

And throughout our journey, we’ll be on a constant lookout for a glimpse of the secretive coastal wolves that inhabit the Great Bear Rainforest. In addition to the large estuary and river systems, we’ll also visit and explore small coastal streams that often support large numbers of pink salmon and have good opportunities for encountering black bears fishing for salmon.

old large tree in a rainforest

Weather permitting, our expedition will circumnavigate Princess Royal Island and visit the Kitasoo Spirit Bear Conservancy. The rare and iconic white Spirit or Kermode bears are found almost exclusively on this large remote island, and it will be all eyes on deck in the hopes of catching a glimpse of this globally unique animal. While in this area we hope to visit a small whale research station and learn about ongoing whale research in this region. This region is seasonally home to large numbers of humpback whales that frequently engage in social “bubble-net” feeding, which is always an amazing experience! Killer whales, fin whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, and sea lions are also frequently encountered in this area.

Near the southern end of Princess Royal Island, we’ll visit the Kitasoo-Xai’xais First Nation community of Klemtu. We’ll be welcomed by this remote Indigenous community of approximately 500 people in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest and be given a guided tour of their awe-inspiring traditional Big House. On our final day, as we travel the short distance to Bella Bella, we’ll hope for last-minute wildlife sightings and savor the pristine landscapes and seascapes of the Great Bear Rainforest and Sea. Upon departure, we’ll say our farewells to this remarkable part of the world and give our thanks to all those who have worked so hard to protect it.

white sailing boat in canada

Accommodations are aboard a 70' schooner designed by William James Roué, famous for designing the legendary schooner Bluenose. Built in Victoria, BC, in 1974, this vessel has a rich history on the BC coast, renowned for her elegant design, exceptional accommodation, robust construction, and remarkable sailing abilities.

The ship is a Transport Canada certified passenger vessel and meets the highest standards of safety and construction. She is fully equipped with modern safety and navigation equipment including radar, GPS, VHF radios, EPIRB, and digital chart plotter and satellite telephone. Among her many features are four private staterooms, gorgeous main salon, traditional wheelhouse, generous deck space, and exceptional sailing abilities.

The main salon is her centerpiece below deck.Two large settees provide spacious seating for reading or socializing around her luxurious dining table. The surrounding shelves are the home to the extensive cultural and natural history, marine science, and maritime libraries. Finally, a cast iron oil-burning heater radiates an embracing warmth throughout the entire vessel.

Guest accommodation is in four private staterooms. The three forward staterooms each have two spacious single berths complete with fluffy duvets and wool blankets, a private vanity with sink, mirror, and hot and cold running water, a skylight or deck prism, brass reading lamps, and drawers and a hanging locker for personal effects. The aft stateroom is accessed from the wheelhouse, and boasts a large skylight, two double berths, private vanity with hot and cold water, and a small head (marine toilet). The spacious head and shower is accessed from the main salon.

serving food for guests

All meals aboard the ship are included. The food philosophy holds that the cultivation, distribution, preparation and appreciation of the food you eat are critical to your individual and cultural well-being. Whenever possible, your hosts source and serve foods that are sustainably, locally, and organically grown, produced, raised, or caught in BC.

They provide a diversity of foods prepared by culinary experts, ranging from homemade granola, to fresh greens, to sustainably caught wild salmon and halibut, while accommodating guests’ dietary preferences and restrictions. The chefs and crew take great pride in preparing and serving guests delicious meals that are healthy, plentiful, and beautiful, and immersed in the ecosystems and cultural traditions of coastal BC.

These small-ship expeditions provide extraordinary and intimate opportunities for being immersed in the ancient cultures and stunning wildlife of Canada’s Pacific Coast. Your hosts have a mission of contributing to the conservation and well-being of the ecosystems, cultures, and communities of coastal British Columbia. They believe that helping guests experience first-hand and understand some of the most spectacular wildlife and ecosystems on the planet is key to their protection and preservation.

At the heart of this business is a desire to reduce the footprint on the planet. As such, your hosts integrate responsible ecotourism practices into the daily activities. The source and serve foods that are locally and sustainably grown, produced, raised or caught. They design itineraries that allow you to spend more time sailing in order to reduce fuel consumption. The onboard recycling and composting programs help to divert waste from landfills. The promotional materials and transactions are mainly done over the Internet, and when necessary they use 100% recycled post-consumer paper, saving trees, water, greenhouse gas emissions, and energy.

In each of the communities and cultures they visit, they partner with local people. They have protocol agreements with First Nations whose territories you visit and hire local guides and businesses. They partner with parks, conservation areas, and governments and obtain permits for all limited-use areas they visit.

Payment Details

Deposit and Taxes

  • Pricing does not include: 5.00% GST.
  • A $1500.00 deposit is required to hold your reservation.
  • Balance of payment is due 90 days before trip commencement.



If you need to cancel your sailing expedition, and replacement guests or alternative dates cannot be found, the following cancellation fees will be charged:
  • >90 days: $500/person
  • 90-61 days: 50% of payment
  • 60-0 days: 100% of payment
We strongly recommend that you purchase travel insurance that includes coverage for cancellation, including now readily available “Cancel For Any Reason” coverage.